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The day they left was one of great joy and expectation. The wait had been a long one—over 400 years—and now they were free. All of them, men, women, and children, leaving in a hurry. They were laden with gold, silver, fine linen and plenty of livestock. These gifts were thrust upon them by the Egyptians who were more than eager to get rid of them after losing their firstborn sons.
But for the Israelites, it was a joyous day. He had done it. He had done it! Just as He had promised. The Lord had set them free.
And now began a new journey, a new life, one that was going to start… in the wilderness.
This is the story of Israel and the Exodus. Held captive as slaves for over 400 years by the hands of Pharaoh, they were now free and one their way to the land that God had promised them. But their first stop was the wilderness to worship God.
When God gave Moses instructions at the burning bush, He instructs him to go, with the leaders of the Israelites, before the King of Egypt and request that he (Pharaoh) let the people go so that they may go into the wilderness to hold a feast to honor God (Exodus 3:18).
So if you missed it the first time, let me repeat. Before conquering the land that God had promised them, Israel would have to go through… the wilderness. It was always God’s plan; the wilderness was the only way to the Promised Land.
In the same way, the wilderness IS the only way to YOUR promised land. If you’re in a wilderness season, you might be fighting it or wondering what you may have done wrong to have ended up there.
Be encouraged, the wilderness is not the battle, it’s preparation for the battle. But there are two very important truths that you need to cement in your heart while you’re in the wilderness. If you don’t, you might end up like the first generation of Israelites, wandering in the desert for much longer than God intended.
You will need these truths in order to conquer your promised land. Read on to find out what they are.
TRUTH #1: GOD IS WHO HE SAYS HE IS
After Joseph dies, we see no account of anyone having a direct relationship with God until Moses. The people of Israel had been crying out to God for many years but had heard no response. Yet God had not forgotten the promise had made to Abraham all those years ago.
God sent ten plagues to “convince” Pharaoh to let His people go. Each one of those plaques was a direct affront to a specific Egyptian god. By defeating each one God showed that He was El Elyon, God Most High.
After the final plague and the death of Egypt’s firstborn sons, Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. God was Israel’s Savior and Deliverer.
As they left Egypt, He went before them as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. He was their leader.
When the Egyptians changed their minds and came after them, God stood between them and the Egyptians as the sea parted and then proceeded to destroy the Egyptians so that they would “see them no more”. He was their protector AND their avenger.
When they were hungry and thirsty and could find no food or water, He provided manna (Exodus 16:4) and quail from the heavens and water from a rock (Exodus 17:6). He was their provider.
Even when Israel was disobedient, God still provided for them during those additional 38 years, and their “clothes” did not wear out, as a loving Father does.
During your journey through the wilderness, God will make himself known to you time and time again. Too often the first generation of Israelites forgot what God had done for them. They failed to create memorials to help them remember what He had already done.
To take your Promised Land, you’ll need to remember who God is to you. When you recall what He has done for you in the past it will bolster your faith to believe His promises for the future.
TRUTH #2: YOU ARE WHO GOD SAYS YOU ARE
The battle against the Amalekites in the valley of Rephidim was meant to show the Israelites what they were capable of when the Lord is on their side. Together they were able to defeat the giant clan of the Amalekites. The same kind of people they would have to battle in the Promised Land.
And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.Exodus 17:14 (ESV)
In Exodus 17: 14, God specifically instructs Moses to write the victory against the Amalekites in a book as a memorial and also rehearse it out loud so that Joshua would hear. As the one to eventually lead the Israelites into battle for the Promised Land, this was meant to encourage Joshua and help him to remember that, with God, they were able to win the
When he came back with his report from the Promised Land, Joshua must have had this victory on his mind. If God had done it then, he would certainly do it again. He (along with Caleb) remembered who God was and also what he (Joshua) was able to do with God on his side.
The other 10 spies, however, didn’t believe they had what it took to take the promised land. They chose not to see themselves as God did. God had proven his faithfulness countless times before and their victory in the battle of the Amalekites should have been enough for them to know that, with Him on their side, they could conquer anything and anyone in the Promised Land.
Often when we go through a tough time we say that God is testing us to see what we’re made of. I disagree. God already knows what we’re made of. Why? Because when He created us He gave us everything we would ever need to become who we were created to be.
The testing is for you to see what YOU are capable of when God is on your side. It’s so that you can come into agreement with what God is saying about you.
Going through the testing and coming out victorious will prove to you that you are capable of doing everything He says you can. It increases our faith for the next trial.
When we don’t agree with what God is saying about us, we are basically calling Him a liar. We’re saying that all of the things that He wrote about us in our book (Ps 139:16) are not true. In order to take our promised land, we have to believe that what God says about us is true, even if we can’t see it at the moment. We have to be strong and courageous and trust Him.
The two most important truths that you need to believe when you’re in the wilderness is that God is who He says He is and that you are who God says you are.
Don’t despise your wilderness journey. Learn as much as you can about who God is and who He created you to be, you’ll need it for the battle.